This very book will jolt you wide awake from the conventional definition of retirement and shake your faith in delaying that very thing that you want to do after the kids are all grown up. Period. On page 2, author, Mitch Anthony remarked – “retirement is an unnatural phase in the modern life course. It is an insertion invented between work & death for purposes lying outside of those seeking to live a purposeful life”. And that phrase alone, in my opinion, makes you want to delve deeper in what he has to say in the entire 188 pages retirementality book.
How retirement came about
Blame it on the industrialization era, where older workers are deemed too slow to adapt and hence, a threat to progress. It is a widespread conspiracy of sorts (for the lack of better word) on why retirement has to be mandatory at a predefined age – be in 55, 60 or 65. But modern society accepts that because we are in an era where most people are involved in jobs/occupation which offer no emotional reward, as compared to be involved in craft/vocation which makes your work satisfying and integral to one’s identity. Hence the reason why many people want to “retire as early as early” to pursue our so-called dreams, provided you still have the desire and drive necessary – that is! The reality is – doing what we hate only for the money depletes our spirit – and that leaves us little energy left inside to begin a new journey even after we “retire”.
In what the author describe retirement as an artificial finish line, many people are working in jobs/industries/offices that they hate, that they’ve convinced themselves that the answer to stop working (aka retirement). But ponder over this – if we were doing what we do best, find satisfaction in it, earn a decent paycheck and hopefully with the passion factor injected in – would we be obsessed with the idea of quitting (aka retiring) anytime soon?
IRA – Individual Retirement Attitude or Retirementality
It reads – I can no longer assume any institution (even the government) has my best interest at heart, and I will assume total responsibility for my fiscal well being. I will plan not only on living longer but working longer as well in being highly selective of the work I choose to do in keeping my spirits alive. I will be flexible in my approach, as I know that it will be a bumpy ride ahead
My note – That means, sufficient retirement nest egg allocation first and foremost, instead of mortgaging your house for children’s overseas education!
Money – means and meaning
Money has no value in and of itself; it is only useful in terms of what one can utilize it to achieve something significant in life. The question to ask is – How can I get the most meaning from my means? Hence, a vision is needed. Author remarked – you retire to something is way better than retire from something. Else, you could end up aimless. We live purposely by investing on purpose – placing meaning at the center of each financial decision.
Beyond your retirement nest egg, every retiree, young or old, has exactly the same amount to spend in retirement. That’s 168 hours a week, nothing more, nothing less.
First you are bored, then you are boring
There’s an old gentleman who said to me – “Back before I was retired, I held senior management positions. When I speak, everyone listens to me. Now, not even my wife listens to me”
Our career, or rather, vocation defined much of our identity. True for most, that’s why when we stopped working, many lost their identity. Thru our career, we find affirmation of our purpose on this planet on a deeper level and of our potential to positively impact others. We are literally chipping away at the things we are not to reveal the absolute best form we can become.
Hence, it does not make sense to watch the grass grow, or completely disengage ourselves from what we’ve been doing throughout our active years. There is still vast opportunity to engage in work that brings value to others and meaning to me, not to mention a paycheck. You know you are in this position when you answered “The next one” whenever being asked “What is your favorite day of work?”
Retirementality = Re-tiring on purpose
Author states, since retirement is no longer an end point but a starting point of a new phase, a new sets of tire is necessary. 4 aspects – vacation, vocation, renewal and relationships. Fulfilling retirement seeks to balance among these 4.
Retirement should be an option, rather than mandatory. Working longer than what society expect of us should be a choice we make for our own well-being, for the well-being of a relationship and for the well-being of society.
There are a few more concepts which is really worth your time – such as Return on Life (instead of Return Of Investment), Maslow Meet Retirement, Calculating Income for Life and From Aging to Successful Aging. This book is the most eye opening masterpiece I’ve read on retirement thus far. Highly recommended.